Gigs & press
| ...of Meadow Run
New Age Reporter
Wind and Wire
| ...of Elegant Tern
Wind and Wire
Acoustic Guitar Magazine
| ...of The Redwood Sidthe
Wind and Wire
Gods of Music
The New Times Magazine
New Age Voice
...of live performances
Guitar Dharma Talk & Demo
84,000 Dharma Doors - Zen Guitar Talk & Demo
This Buddhism-based guitar workshop was somewhat lost on a
such as myself. However, despite my lack of knowledge, the event
provided me with an odd but enjoyable hour's entertainment. During the
session I and the workshop's seven other participants were introduced
to intuitive, 'heart-led' playing technique of softly spoken
Californian Clarelynn Rose. Accompanying herself on her gently strummed
guitar, Rose outlined the importance of quieting the chattering 'monkey
mind' and of opening oneself to the musical intuition of one's heart.
While it would be easy to dismiss her words as codswallop, the beauty
of Rose's compositions suggested that she must have some sense. Real
guitarists should grab the opportunity to learn from this earnest and
--Three Weeks Critics Choice, 23 Aug 2006
Taize for your soul
Penicuik Taize Vaults singers at St Mark's
Taize For Your Soul was a musical event performed in yet another
central Edinburgh church I hadn't previously been in - the acoustically
magnificent St Marks. Taize, for the uninitiated, is an ecumenical
community established in north-west France in 1940 by Brother Roger.
Though often associated with the Catholic faith, and Jesus, Son of God
being a central theme to many chants, it was interesting to note that
some in the Penicuik group had Buddhist connections. The chants were
performed by a dozen members of the Penicuik Taize Vaults Singers, who
sing each Sunday by rotation in the ancient vaults of a half-dozen old
chapels, palaces and castles in and around Scotland's capital.
Surprisingly, the group rarely practises - they learn as they perform.
But very talented they were - delivering around 20 chants a cappella
or, occasionally, to the tones of a two-fret, 24-string baroque lute!
Taize chants are short, melodic and deliberately repetitive, and each
was followed here by a long pause for reflection and meditation.
Certainly the male and female harmonies were rich and appealing, but as
most of them were sung in Latin or Spanish, a translation sheet would
have been helpful. It was apparent, however, that most were refrains of
praise or prayer. I thoroughly enjoyed the music, as did my friend, who
knew several of the songs. But we both found the 75-minute experience a
bit long for a one-dimensional repertoire like this - there was no
movement and the lack of musical variety and ingenuity led to some in
the audience getting a tad fidgety well before the end of the show.
Clearly this group are best heard in an echoey underground stone space
- where, there's no doubt, their gorgeous tones can be shown off to
--Tom Lennie, Crossrhythms.co.uk, 13 Sept 2006
Weekly The Redwood Sidthe: A
Place for the Magical
Artist: Clarelynn Rose
Album: The Redwood Sidthe
Label: Heartwood Music
Fans of acoustic guitar work are in for a real treat with The Redwood Sidthe from Buddhist forester Clarelynn Rose. With influence from Celtic and folk, along with environmental issues and spiritual awareness as the main sources of inspiration, Clarelynn has created a wonderful and purposeful recording of beautiful acoustic guitar stylings. As a nice addition to this album, $1 from every CD sold goes towards one of two groups: the Forestry Institute for Teachers and the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project. So not only do you get twelve amazing pieces of music, you're also helping out a couple of great causes at the same time.
As a youngster growing up in Chicago, Clarelynn took up piano, violin, viola and harp. At 17, after a fire destroyed her instruments, Clarelynn headed for the local guitar shop and picked up a used Yamaha classical guitar. From that day forward, guitar would be her instrument of choice, and began teaching herself as much as she could.
Fast forward to 1999 when Clarelynn attended a guitar camp featuring instructors Alex de Grassi and John Renbourn. It was at this time that Clarelynn really found her sound as a guitarist, and has been performing and composing ever since. The Redwood Sidthe is the current result of her self-taught guitar style, and the results are impressive.
With 12 tracks in all, each is testament to tried and true sound of acoustic guitar, and how much vibrant life and soul can be illuminated by every single chord. Ranging from contemplative to downright uplifting, everything offered here is a real musical treat, one that is equally perfect when shared with friends, or enjoyed in solitude.
In particular, I really enjoyed the opening title track, as it sets the stage for the pieces that follow. Clarelynn's spirituality shines through on "Amitabha", which is based upon a Buddhist melody. The closing track, entitled "Offering", is the longest of all the pieces, and does an excellent job of expressing both longing and satisfaction, and is an excellent ending to a perfect acoustic journey.
I've heard a lot of acoustic guitar releases over the years, and far too many cannot offer the warm and friendly atmosphere that The Redwood Sidthe does. There is a real sense of intimacy here, and it is obvious after the first listening that Clarelynn truly loves what she does, and that shines through brightly in her performance.
My only complaint? The album ends far too quickly, with the 36 minutes disappearing like mist in the woods. Perhaps this is a good indication of how easy it is to get lost in Clarelynn's music, and how wonderful it is to restart the album and enjoy it all over again.
Instrumental Weekly, December 2001
Wind and Wire
The Redwood Sidthe
In the liner notes to her CD, The Redwood Sidthe, Clarelynn Rose (Rose is her performing name - her real last name is Nunamaker) offers thanks to guitar maestros John Renbourn and Alex de Grassi. Acknowledging those two world class musicians is an indication of what awaits the lover of acoustic guitar instrumental music on this fine recording. Clarelynn combines adroit technique, soulful playing, and a varied composing style in the twelve pieces that comprise the album. Drawing on subtle Celtic, folk and contemplative influences, her music can alternately dazzle, invigorate or calm you down. All in all, this is a first rate acoustic music release.
I rarely include a lot of background or press kit info in my reviews, but in the case of Clarelynn, I'm going to make an exception. Seldom do the music and its inspiration so accurately reflect not just the soul of an artist but also the person themselves. With songs entitled "Rain Forest Rain," "Redwood Dawn," and "Lake Oswego Moon," you would be correct in assuming Clarelynn is a nature lover; but, she's also a registered forester by trade. Here is someone who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. In fact, she donates $1.00 from the sale of every CD to a fund for two educational programs, the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education project and the Forestry Institute for Teachers. Outstanding! What a wonderful effort on the part of one person to increase awareness and concern for our environment!
Of course, this nobility of purpose would not be well-served if the music did not inspire people to buy the album. Have no fear in that regard. As a testament to the likability of Clarelynn's music, I have played the CD five times in just two days. Admittedly, I'm a big fan of acoustic guitar music, but I particularly enjoy the variety of moods, tempos, and styles on The Redwood Sidthe. This assortment of songs makes the CD fit in comfortably nearly any time in my day or early evening listening. Since a fair number of the selections are either slightly or wholly uptempo, I don't think this is a good fit for late-night playing, but it's not meant to be, I don't think. It's too sunny, at times - which is what I like about it, to tell you the truth.
The album's Celtic influences are mostly heard on the first two tracks, the haunting title song (Sidthe, by the way, is a Gaelic word referring to the fairy folk and the realm they inhabit) and the sprightly "Across the Pond." Next on the recording, "Miles" is a spirited and fun but still somewhat laid-back ballad (named, believe it or not, for one of Alex de Grassi's dogs, whom Clarelynn once took for a walk). Other cuts on the CD include "Bai Ma (White Horse)" which showcases Clarelynn's fleet-fingered way with the strings and fretboard, the beautiful but somewhat somber "Rain Forest Rain," the cheery and midtempo "Lake Oswego Moon," and the unusual "Amitabha (Buddha)" which is based on a Buddhist melody. The album concludes with "Offering," a slow-paced tune that evokes the feeling of a leisurely stroll through the coastal forests, marveling at their beauty while immersing oneself in the solitude of such ancient timber. It's a lovely closing number.
The songs on this CD are neither Ackerman-like tone poems or quasi-Hedges' excursions into tuning and percussive experimentalism. They're also not pop-ish, overtly commercial, or sing-songy. Instead, the tracks on this outstanding album are immediately accessible, warm and inviting, yet they're also richly layered with some intricate fingerwork and a strong sense of melody and rhythm. Please permit me to comment on the emotional reaction I had to the album as well. It may sound trite or clichÃ© or too much like a "Hallmark moment," but playing Clarelynn's CD made me wish I could find myself sitting on my back porch with her, sharing a cup of coffee or glass of wine, watching a flock of midwestern geese fly overhead, as autumn comes alive in the crisp afternoon air. Translation: The Redwood Sidthe is a sincere, honest, and heartfelt album. While I don't know Clarelynn personally, I have to believe that the music reflects her personality. So, when you're in need of good company, play this CD and you'll doubtless feel better. I know I will. And when the leaves turn red-gold and tumble from my backyard's oak, I'll turn west to the Pacific (over a thousand miles away) and salute Clarelynn for both her artistry and her humanity. Buy this album! You'll be glad you did.
Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire, , December 2001
Gods of Music
SONG: ACROSS THE POND
GENRE: INSTRUMENTAL / INSTRUMENTAL
SIMILAR: DOC WATSON
DOWNLOAD URL: CLICK HERE
First off, I should say that the Doc comparison only works in the sense that both artists have the ability to a) play the guitar incredibly and b) provoke a real emotional reaction. Clarelynn is from a different world than Doc musically, but in my limited exposure to instrumental guitar (a condition which this song has inspired me to do something about) that's as close a touchstone as I have to refer to. Anyways, there is a streak of what sounds to me like medieval English traditional music in it, which I suppose is where the song got its title. Sometimes I really don't like that similar field - why does something have to exist in relation to something else? This stands on its own in every way.
Anyways, as you may have guessed, I LOVE this tune. It starts off slowly and haltingly, with pauses to let notes ring, and to just sort of shine in the moment. It actually grabbed me from the third note of the song - it sounded to me like a chrysalis's first punch through its cocoon. The song conjures up this kind of miraculous imagery all the way through.
After the first minute or so, which made me feel like I was standing in sunshine at the end of a movie (the kind where everyone gets what they want at the end), the song hits its stride with a gorgeous melody like a loping horse or a dance of sheer joy. Just gorgeous.
At the time of the writing of this review, you can't hear the whole song at her website, just a RealAudio sample which ends before the song really begins, but I can assure you that if you're a fan of solo acoustic guitar, you will not be disappointed in her CD.
The only criticism that I can come up with is that the bass tones of the guitar are a bit throbbing sounding on my speakers, but I suspect that's just my cheap speakers. It's certainly not enough to ruin one's enjoyment of the song by a long shot.
J. Paskaruk, Gods of Music , December 2001
The New Times Magazine
If it's been a while since you added a solo acoustic guitar album to your collection, we'd like to recommend The Redwood Sidthe.
Clarelynn Rose (a forester who donates $1 to forestry charities for every CD sold) has, with her first release, given a stressed-out world a calming, healing, and soulful gift. The devas are surely pleased with the smooth serenity this record both contains and imparts, and we're betting you will be, too.
DL, November 2001
New Age Voice
You can tell by titles like "Across the Pond", "Green Heron," and "Redwood Dawn" that the simple,enchanting melodies Rose picks on her acoustic guitar are mostly inspired by nature. As a professional forester, she spends a lot of time absorbing the sounds of the redwood forests and the creatures who live there. Each of her movements is clear and deliberate, with an overall tendency to the quieter, subtler sounds. Her touch is personal with gentle passages that can be best appreciated by close listening or at least minimal distractions, say like while reading, checking your e-mail, or simply unwinding.
You can also garner clues to her softer spiritual influeces by her dedication of one track to Buddha and the title cut to the sidthe (Gaelic for fairies). Her sensitive touch on the strings is probably due to her early training on viola and harp, and no doubt was encouraged by her studies with Alex de Grassi and John Renbourn. Rose's style is reflective and nourishing in the same way that a walk in the woods encourages these tranquil qualities.
DL, February 2002
"Sidthe" (pronounced "shee-dah") originates from the Gaelic and refers to the Fairy Folk who inhabit what some call "The Mystical Other," a world between worlds.
My very first impression upon hearing Clarelynn's melodic guitar solos was indeed that of an afternoon spent outside of normal time-space, wandering in the Redwoods. The 12 tunes on the CD express a folk music style, woven together with an obvious Celtic inspiration, making for a very nice listen.
These original compositions have a subtle grace and continuity well suited for either casual relaxation, or serious meditation. The solo acoustic guitar playing is crisp, clean, and in many places outright soulful...mirroring the artist's deep love of nature, and the unseen spirits that abide in the quiet places.
This CD will compliment any music collection and get lots of play. Don't be too surprised if you seem to hear fairies singing in the background as the wind flows through the Redwoods.
Chautauqua, January 2002
The Redwood Sidthe, Elegant Tern
Acoustic guitarist Clarelynn Rose beautifully crafts Folk, Celtic and New Age genres into her layered songwriting. The California Buddhist forester picked up music at age 17 and focuses her energy on the emotion behind her compositions, choosing to rely on the feeling rather than the theory or technique behind the song. The result is a relaxing feel to the two releases and a powerful statement of quiet reflection. An ethereal, organically textured feel; both releases are a sweet and classic addition to the world of grassroots acoustic music.
Rubbing Elbows with: Steve Tibbets, Leo Kottke
Pork Tartare, 2003
New Age Reporter
The tail-end of November. And it is the kind of day that Pooh aficionados would call blustery. A cold north wind and a wet mixture of rain and intrepid snowflakes swirl outside my window. It is warm in the cabin and a perfect time to listen to Meadow Run. The music begs the question, "Where have you been, Clarelynn Rose?"
Clarelynn Rose plays steel string acoustic guitar and lute. She plays both exceptionally well. The music is powerful enough to keep the cold winds at bay and revive the spirit of any weary soul. RoseÂs music has two qualities that persuade me to add her to my Top Ten list for 2005. Perfection and virtuosity. Her music, a blend of contemporary instrumental and New World Celtic is put together like one of those thousand-piece jigsaw puzzles. Every piece is honed to a particular shape and the final fit makes a broad, beautiful picture. In this case a sonic picture.
Guigui starts off the album. Woodsy and free spirited, it musically tells a tale out of old Native American folklore; The Turtle and The Salmon. It is not generally known that the turtle is very wise and many times overcomes his oppressor by quick thinking instead of fast action. The melody is enthusiastic without being effusive. It is the music of discovery.
One of the best cuts on the album is the title tune Meadow Run. I swear I could feel the sunshine on my face as fleecy clouds skittered on by. I probably imagined the smell of the tall, sweet grass too, but that is what ClarelynnÂs music does. It puts you right in the middle of a daydream. And where did those elk come from?
The Chinook wind starts way out on the Pacific Ocean and bumps into the Rockies and makes rain. South Wind is another notable cut on Meadow Run. It is a light guitar tune with a touch of harmonics and a gentle flow. It is a song of welcome as the spirit of the south wind brings nourishing rain and coolness to the mountains.
White Roots features Clarelynn on the baroque lute. It is a rather throaty instrument that has its own bass section with a moderate guitar-like rhythm. The melody is seriously complex and sounds like a medieval mystery soundtrack. Sadly, it was the only song on the album played the lute. I wanted to hear more.
RoseÂs talent for composition really shines on the tune Night Tide. It is a most relaxing tune. It is the first sip of new-stirred hot cocoa. Or the very dry stick of Pinyon pine that is thrown upon the fire that crackles with warmth. It is the rhythm of the waves as they lap the shore and the light of a million stars that offer us secret wishes. The tune was of course, one of my favorites.
There is more than one kind of journey. One moves you from place to place and another moves your spirit to somewhere else or even somewhen else. The Road to Roberton is an excursion to a unique place. For Clarelynn it was probably a day trip, an adventure perhaps. For our ears it is a jaunt to a special place of the heart. The music is a most welcome travel companion.
Clarelynn Rose is by day a registered forester, consults on ecologically sound forestry practices and is proponent of Zen guitar. Clarelynn is what I would deem musically articulate. Lovers of fingerstyle gufinger-styleove her unique phrasing on every cut as well as the journey into alternative tuning. Rose has two other albums to her credit: the Elegant Tern and The Redwood Sidthe. IÂm going out and dig them up. I know I will be the richer for listening to them.
RJ Lannan, New Age Reporter , December, 2005
Meadow Run: A Masterwork from Clarelynn Rose
Clarelynn Rose is clearly one of the premier steel string acoustic guitar soloists/composers playing and recording today. Steeped in the music and technique of past masters, Clarelynn nevertheless has a distinctive and original voice of her ownÂa voice that comes through loud and clear on her new CD, Meadow Run. Her impeccable technique and innate and unerring musicality make this CD one of the best discs of this or any year.
Playing in the tradition of such "golden age" steel string artists as Alex de Grassi, Clarelynn has a gift for creating immediately likeable (and memorable) melodies. For example, "GuiGui (The Turtle and the Salmon)" juxtaposes a predictable underlying chord structure with a lovely and unpredictable melody. The tension between the two works perfectly, as do a slight shift in tempo midway through the song, interesting variations in the upper and lower registers, and well-placed harmonics. While the variations stray from the main melody, Clarelynn keeps the listener anchored by perfectly timed repetitions of a very distinctive and addictively definable phrase.
Other songs whose melodies tend to stay with listener include the aptly named "The Honey Song," whose harmonies have a density and sweetness appropriate to the songÂs title, a lovely and sensitive arrangement of "South Wind," a traditional tune given new life in this arrangement, and the strongly melodic "Dust Dance," whose swirling triplets drive the piece forward and carry the listener along.
In addition to lovely melodies, pieces based on intriguing dance rhythms are also showcased on this CD. "West Wind" is a light and lilting tune, despite the driving and relentless cascading effects that give the piece its character. "Headlands" is another song based on triplets that, nevertheless, exudes gentleness. And "A Jig for John" is a veritable master class in the genre, utilizing a drone, harmonics, pull-offs, hammer-ons, string slaps, and other rhythmic effects.
Going beyond the traditional steel string acoustic guitar, Clarelynn brings a bit of musical history to this disc by performing an original piece on a 13 course baroque lute. With "White Roots," which subtly evokes the mood of the 17th century by echoing the familiar harmonic structure and overtones of the music of the era, she achieves an almost organ-like quality by using the lower registers of the instrument to full effect. The characteristic drama of baroque music is satisfactorily provided through a judicious use of appropriate dynamics.
Fans of alternate tunings will not be disappointed in this disc. In addition to such familiar tonal arrangements as drop D ("Phoenix") and low C ("Headlands" and "The Road to Roberton"), Clarelynn is equally adept at composing and performing in a number of less well-known configurations, to which she has attached such whimsical names as Doorbell, Elk, Asea, and Tuning in 3D. Both students and experienced guitarists will appreciate the fact that the tuning for each piece is clearly identified on the liner notes of this very attractive CD package.
Listeners and players alike will be instantly attracted to this recording. From the first track, Clarelynn establishes her distinctive styleÂmercurial yet controlled, improvisational, yet carefully craftedÂand carries it through to the end. Her musical instincts are always right on target, and her technique is dazzling. The highest compliment I can pay her is that after listening to this CD, I feel like playing the guitarÂlike Clarelynn Rose.
Gene, Strummeronline, March, 2005
Wind and Wire
Meadow Run, Heartwood Music (2004)
Clarelynn Rose, one of my favorite artists (and favorite people, for that matter), has released her third CD of solo acoustic guitar music, Meadow Run. Graced with some beautiful nature photos on the tri-fold digipack, the music contained within is equally pleasing - exhilarating and refreshing, yet also calming and reflective (even when the song itself is sprightly). Fans of Rose's previous recordings (The Redwood Sidthe and Elegant Tern) are already aware of this guitarist's unique way with crafting sublime music which occupies two moods at the same time (another musician capable of this is Steve Eckels), and Meadow Run once again displays this combination of mellow and spirited in its twelve tracks.
For those who don't know it, Clarelynn Rose is not just a talented musician but also a dedicated forester whose many efforts to educate children on the spiritual and moral rewards of responsible forest stewardship are part of why I am such a huge fan of hers. Of course, it helps that she is one of the best acoustic guitarists playing today, too. As in the past, she continues (in the liner notes) to cite both Alex de Grassi and John Renbourn as inspiration and influences (if you don't recognize those names, you're no fan of guitar music!). Meadow Run sees her subtly evolve her compositions to include a slightly more renaissance-era type of flair, much the same way Eric Tingstad does in his collaborations with long-time musical partner Nancy Rumbel. Rose goes so far as to include the use of a 13-course baroque lute on the medieval sounding "White Roots," one of the more moody and introspective pieces here, carrying a faint echo of "Greensleeves" within its 3:43 playing time.
Other aspects of previous recordings also surface, such as a touch of Celtic influence (on tracks like the opening song, the playful yet subdued "GuiGui [The Turtle and The Salmon]" or the true-to-its-title "A Jig for John"). Rose refers to her music craft as "Zen guitar" and the simple beauty and grace of songs like the sparkling jewel-like title track and the one that follows it, the gently meandering "The Honey Song," are indicative of an artist who strives for balance and peace, but starts the journey within herself first and foremost. It is Rose's music's duality (of which I wrote above) which most endears me to her music, i.e. how her finger work can be swift and dexterous on songs like "Night Tide" or the Celtic-ish rollicking "West Wind" yet the gentle nature of her strumming and picking keeps the music inviting, warm, and soft as sun rays peaking through the canopy of trees in one of her native California forests. Even when a track is lively, the mood is never frenetic or hurried, instead being more like a brisk refreshing walk along a nature trail.
Now, as if this review isn't enough incentive to buy this CD, remember that Clarelynn's label, Heartwood Music, donates 10% or more of its profits to environmental education programs, with over $500 donated to date. For an independent artist, that is both impressive and a sign of "putting your money where your mouth is." Meadow Run is one of the best acoustic music CDs of the past year and comes with my highest recommendation to fans of solo guitar recordings. And, next time you're in the forest, hug a tree. Clarelynn Rose - and I - will appreciate it.
Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire, January, 2005
Back Acoustic Magazine
Are you the type of person who enjoys sitting listening to a CD with their guitar in hand, trying to figure out how to play along? Do you enjoy instrumental guitar with a "rural" theme? Then Clarelynn Rose and her self-styled "Celtic new age Zen guitar" may well be for you.
And hey, if the idea of Zen guitar doesn't float your boat (although you muct be crazy if that is the case), Rose also excels with the baroque lute. All on the one CD! It's a feast for every folkie, as Rose picks and strums her way through 12 tunes that vary in theme from the south wind to the west wind, taking in turtle and salmon along the way.
The photos on the cover that feature a lot of deer (sic, elk)in various woodland poses pretty much give away where Rose is coming from, and the fact that she lists the tunings of the songs next to the songs titles betrays the fact that she's a muso's muso. If you like that kind of thing, you'll love this.
Brett Callwood, Acoustic Magazine, April/May, 2005
Minor 7th -- www.minor7th.com
Clarelynn Rose "Meadow Run", 2004 The back cover of Clarelynn RoseÂs third self-produced fingerstyle guitar recording "Meadow Run" greets the expectant listener with a taciturn elk staring straight at you. These magnificent creatures are featured all over the well-designed CD package, reflecting both power and grace -- perhaps a visual key to ClarelynnÂs music. Her sound reflects the legacy of Windham Hill guitar recordings of days gone by with influences (both explicitly and implied) of William Ackerman and Alex DeGrassi, as well as Celtic master John Renbourn. ItÂs a gently soothing elixir of carefully woven melodies. Clarelynn has such a strong connection with those horned quadripeds that the title cut "Meadow Run" is in DGDGAD tuning, which she calls Elk. She reveals a good Celtic feel in the sprightly "A Jig for John," "Headlands," and the reflective "Dust Dance." We take a silent trip on "The Road to Roberton" through fields awash in muted colors and filled with springÂs dawning peace, while "Phoenix" calls us to contemplation. One piece, "White Roots," shows off a new direction in ClarelynnÂs musical journey on the Baroque Lute, telling a bitter-sweet tale of rumbling bass notes and haunting minor chords. If youÂre searching for solo guitar music which demands only an open heart, "Meadow Run" is a worthy place to spend some time.
Â© Kirk Albrecht March 2005
Wind and Wire
Acoustic guitarist and dedicated forester Clarelynn Rose (a.k.a. Clarelynn Nunamaker) has favored us - and I do mean favored us - with her second recording of melodic, heartfelt, and gentle solo acoustic guitar music, Elegant Tern. The elegant tern is a California coastal bird and, like the bird, the music on this album is also graceful and beautiful. ClarelynnÂ¹s playing, which was already stellar on her debut (The Redwood Sidthe) has actually become more refined and more carefully nuanced. She is now, in my opinion, the equal of any other acoustic guitarist in this field currently recording. Her two albums are among the select few that I can truthfully say I never tire of playing, be it for dedicated listening or used as accompaniment to cooking, reading, or day-dreaming in a favorite chair.
Once again, the songs themselves vary (somewhat) in tempo and mood, although nothing on the album is either pulse-raising nor sleep-inducing; itÂ¹s just the right mixture of sedate and gently spirited. There are pensive pieces, such as Â³MonkÂ¹s Gate/I Saw Three Ships,Â² the title track, or the closing number, Â³Redstone;Â² and there are a few livelier songs, like the gently rocking album-opener Â³SunshowerÂ² or Â³Damnation TrailÂ² with its mysterious melody and loping-gait pace. However, all the cuts on Elegant Tern are, well, elegant. Subtle echoes of Celtic or English folk influence surface now and then, but usually just a dash or smidgen - I would never label the CD as anything remotely like world music. Instead, as Clarelynn once again thanks him in her liner notes, Alex de Grassi is an apt comparison, although surely Clarelynn Rose has her own distinctive Â³voiceÂ² and offers music that is original and sincere.
I named it as one of my favorite recordings of 2002. The entire album resonates with gentility, emotion, and grace. Clarelynn Rose displays an abundance of technique yet never calls attention to it with showiness or ostentatious fireworks.
I sincerely doubt that anyone who enjoys acoustic guitar music will hear a more likable album this year - I know I donÂ¹t expect to. Elegant Tern merits my highest recommendation.
Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire,, March 2003
Emerging from northern California's redwoods (where she is a forester), Clarelynn Rose contributes her second ablum, Elegant Tern, to the mix of fingerstyle CDs. At a time when virtuosity and flashy technique receive lots of attention, Elegant Tern soothes the soul. Although Rose displays formidable chops, her music focuses more on mood, movement, and melodic exploration. Rose penned ten of the album's 11 tunes, and the 11th, a beautiful medley of the traditional "Monk's Gate" and "I Saw Three Ships" demonstrates her arranging skills. Listeners who yearn for the Windham Hill days of solo guitar will want to check out this CD -- reflections of Will Ackerman and Alex de Grassi abound.
Teja Gerken, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, June 2003
A beautiful, graceful, acoustic guitar album.
I think that if you heard Clarelynn playing, without knowing who it was, it would be obvious that the guitarist is a woman; there is just something about the way she plays, not the songs themselves or the themes and emotions, but the way she touches the strings which is strongly feminine. IÂm not sure IÂve ever heard this from any other female artist. In her case itÂs quite obvious.
Now this attribute is one of the things which I find really makes the album stand out and gives the whole thing a fresh, original, approach. It runs away from the average acoustic guitar album. Add to that the fact that she can play without overdoing it, while conveying a wealth of warm, true emotions, and you have the makings of a great album.
Only MonkÂs Gate and I Saw Three Ships are not ClarelynnÂs original work. However, the ten other tracks are her own work. And those are the stronger pieces. Elegant Tern, I believe, resumes the album with itÂs gracefulness, yet Damnation Trail just grabs you and keeps a hold of you. Funny, during that song, I always keep expecting to hear Shawn Phillips singing. Quite a tour de force.
Clarelynn is a self-taught guitarist and forester from redwood country, currently living in Mendocino County, California. Clearly, she lacks no inspiration. 10% of the profits of sales of this CD is donated in support of environmental education.
A-J Charron, Guitarnoise.com, June 2003
Clarelynn Rose's career path probably would not be held up as an example by one of those "how to be a successful musician" guides. To start with, she is a self-taught guitarist. Rose's career as a forester and her Buddhism are other keystones for her music that would likely be sold short by the conventional view of musical success. In any case, Rose's career path seems to be working so far because her second album Elegant Tern is a lovely collection of guitar solos.
The CD is on the short side, with 11 tracks clocking in at slightly less than 40 minutes. The advantage to this is that there isn't any filler. Most of the pieces are deliberately paced, but there are some more up-tempo numbers scattered through; I would've liked a few more of these though their absence is not a weakness. Rose composed all of the pieces, except for a medley of two traditional tunes ("Monk's Gate/I Saw Three Ships"), which she arranged. Rose includes the tunings she uses in the liner notes.
It is easy to get lost in the music but this is not guitar noodling. Rose's pieces feature strong melodies and interesting changes on those melodies, not to mention excellent fingerpicking. This means that Elegant Tern works equally well as background music or as music that merits attention. To my ear, much of it recalls a sunny summer afternoon when the first refreshing evening breeze springs up. It is a comforting and mellow feeling that is built on more than the nebulous washes of pretty sound that often pass for new age music. Rose acknowledges Celtic music, John Renbourn and Alex de Grassi as influences, and this has stood her well.
It is hard to single out highlights because the standard of Rose's playing is uniformly high, but I especially liked the first track, "Sunshower," because of its inviting ambience and haunting open-chord accents. "Damnation Trail" is a slightly darker tune that is reminiscent of "We Three Kings." "Su Lu (Sweet Dew)" is pretty without being cloying. Another strength of this album is that despite the calmness of the music it does not get tedious with repeated listenings, which can be an occupational hazard of new age music.
Rose named this album for a seabird native to California; a photo of elegant terns in flight graces the album cover. She is donating 10 percent of the album's proceeds to environmental education. Nice as it is to know that this album is benefiting a worthy cause, it is well worth getting for the music alone. I know I will be enjoying it for a long time to come.
Jennifer Hanson, Rambles.net, a cultural arts magazine, July 2003
Strummer Online -- www.strummeronline.com
Elegant Tern Soars
Having hosted this website for a number of years now, I have come into contact via email and in person with many fine guitarists. Some of these have recorded CDs, and, among those artists, some have been kind enough to provide me with copies. While virtually all of these recordings have great merit and much to recommend them, some stand out as truly superior. That is the case with a wonderful CD I have been privileged to listen to over the past few monthsClarelynn Roses fine piece of work entitled Elegant Tern.
Like the marine bird that serves as the inspiration for the title of this CD, ClarelynnÂs music soars to great heights of technical and emotional excellence. From the drone-like Celtic feel of the title song, with its series of extremely interesting rhythmic variations, to the beautiful sustained harmonics of "Pacific," this is a guitaristÂs CD that will be equally enjoyable to the non-player as well.
Performing with an ease that belies the technical difficulties of the arrangements, Clarelynn is clearly a master of a variety of alternate tunings, some of which even devotees might consider esoteric. Examples include the "Thundercloud Tuning" (CBEbGCD) used on "Sound of Thunderclouds" or the "Modified Doorbell Tuning" (EADEAE) used on "Su Lu (Sweet Dew)." More mainstream tunings, however, are also well represented. Open D, for example, which Clarelynn characterizes as "Tuning in 3-D," is used to great advantage on two piecesÂMonkÂs Gate/I Saw Three Ships" and "Pacific." To her credit (and this is something I encourage all recording guitarists to do), Clarelynn lists all of the tunings she uses by song. In this way, aspiring artists can not only listen to her work more intelligently, but also try their hands at these tunings for themselves.
Standout pieces on this CD include "Sunshower," with its beautiful harmonics and ringing string effects. "MonkÂs Gate/I Saw Three Ships" offers a very interesting interpretation of the Christmas classic buttressed by a satisfying use of upper and lower registers and a jig-like application of hammer onÂs and pull offÂs. In "Damnation Trail," Clarelynn impressed me exceedingly with the subtlety of her playing, particularly in her use of the bass line, which ranges from pedal tones to statement of the theme.
If I have any criticism at all of this CD, it would be that, occasionally, the underlying chord structures of ClarelynnÂs compositions are a bit too predictable, and, at times, the tunings themselves are exploited to the detriment of melody.
But these are minor points. Clarelynn is clearly a very gifted artist, and I recommend this CD without reservation. In a world that, at times, seems dominated by mediocrity, ClarelynnÂs very large talent is worthy of every guitaristÂs support. And I suspect that her work will appeal just as strongly to non-players as well.
Elegant Tern is available for purchase at www.heartwoodmusic.com. Another of ClarelynnÂs CDs, The Redwood Sidthe, is also for sale at this website. I think you'll like both.
Gene Zasadinski, www.strummeroline.com,, August 2003
Clarelynn Rose performs eleven original compositions in her agile finger-style of solo guitar. A Buddhist and a forester, Clarelynn Rose is greatly influenced by nature. In this album she incorporates the grace and beauty of the Elegant Tern, a California coastal bird, into her work. Never pretentious or showy, her varying guitar techniques more along with natural loveliness and emotion. This album will delight all acoustic guitar enthusiasts who like to study finger-picking styles, and will serve as relaxing and uplifting music for anyone.
Marilyn O'Malley, July 2003